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The Clarence Planning Board heard more details Wednesday night about a proposal to build a non-profit retirement home complex.

The senior housing -- called Vinecroft -- would be built on the 40-acre plot at Newhouse and Clarence Center roads where resident opposition earlier this year defeated a proposal to build a mega-church on the site.

The retirement complex got a much warmer welcome from the Planning Board, which voted Wednesday night to have committees such as traffic and fire safety review the plans. The developers are asking the board to rezone the property from agricultural to a zoning that would allow multifamily housing.

The complex would contain an X-shaped building with 44 apartments and six duplexes, said Don Exford of Purcell Construction Corp. of Watertown. The Western New York Mennonite Retirement Community, a tax-exempt organization, would run the facility.

"This is an independent housing community with some services to make life easier for the seniors," Purcell said. "It would not be a nursing home."

About 80 percent of residents would be widows and the average age would be 82.

Each apartment would have a full kitchen, although meals would be included in the $1,500 to $1,700 a month rent. Cable and other services would also be included.

The duplexes would sell for between $80,000 and $110,000, Exford said. If the town approves, construction would start this spring.

If the project succeeds financially, the company plans to build another 44-unit complex and six more duplexes on the land within four or five years. Even with the additional buildings, several Planning Board members praised the developers for leaving so much open space on the lot.

The developers still have to work out with the town Industrial Development Agency how much the tax-exempt Mennonite group would pay in lieu of taxes each year.

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